Thursday, the finishing touches were done on my shoreline and I spent much time preparing documents for my license and permits.
The remainder of the mountains of sand were dumped on the big baggie.
I knew that the job was done and nobody was going to make me undo it, but I was concerned that I was going to have to pay some hefty penalties.
Monday I went to my appointment with the Broward County Biological Resources Division, presented my documents to a very pleasant lady who quickly determined that my project posed no threat to the ecology of South Florida and presented me with my license on the spot – after I wrote a check for $100.00 to the County.
License in hand, along with all the required forms and documents, I was next off to the South Broward Drainage District’s office, where they were kind enough to accept my permit application and my check for $150.00. My permit would be issued after one of their people made an on-site inspection of my shoreline.
The next week the inspector showed up and pronounced the restoration acceptable. He said that he would make his report and their office would call me when my permit was ready. That took another ten days or so.
When I arrived home with the Drainage District office with permit in hand I checked my mail box. In it was a missive from my fair city – a Notice of Violation of Section 987/1017/150.95 A-U of the municipal code, in that I had built a sand retaining sea wall without permit. I was given ten days to correct the violation. The notice threatened that failure to comply by that date would result in charges against me with the Code Compliance Board/ Special Magistrate of the City, and warned that Florida Statute 162.09 authorized them to levy fines in an amount not to exceed $250.00 per day of non-compliance after a hearing with the Code Compliance Board.
Well, wasn’t that nice! 😥
I decided that I would go to City Hall the next day and apply for the permit. I spent the rest of the afternoon putting together everything I would need. I just wanted to get it over with.
A little after 1:00 PM the next day I went to City Hall and got directions to the Engineering Department. I walked into a large room with four service windows handling customers and had to take a number like at the Deli and Bakery Sections at the supermarket. The room was overflowing with people, all with large thick folders stuffed with papers, some obviously architectural blueprints. They were all obviously contractors and were dealing with projects much more complex than mine. All the seats were occupied and there were many more standing. It was an hour before I got to sit down, and at least another hour before my number was finally called.
The guy I had to deal with was very rough looking and didn’t appear to be in a good mood at all. Just my luck, I figured. I put my violation notice down on the counter and explained that I was there to apply for a permit.
Then, one after another, I placed my documents on the counter, explaining what they were – a ‘mea culpa’ letter explaining why I had not applied for a permit in advance – the completed permit application forms – my Biological Resources Division License – my South Broward Drainage District permit – a copy of my property survey – a detailed description of the work done along with scale drawings – a copy of my contract – and photos from before, during and after completion of the job.
The guy studied everything I had given him, in the same order that I provided. Then he looks up at me with a blank expression, and I’m thinking – “Oh, God, here it comes!” But all he said was: “You don’t need a permit for this.”
“But the inspector said I did, and I got this notice of violation.”, I replied.
“Those people don’t know what the f%#@ they’re doing.”, says he.
I asked him what I should do and he said he would take care of it. He checked the number on the violation notice and made some entries in his computer, and told me it was all taken care of – the case was cancelled. I thanked him and started to leave, but he called me back to give me back all my documents, telling me that he didn’t need any of that stuff.
Talk about mixed emotions! I was very happy that the matter was over. However, that officious jerk of an inspector had caused me much aggravation and $250.00, all for nothing. That really pissed me off.
Well, I thought, at least I have permanently solved my shoreline erosion problem. Sadly, that was not to be the case.
Final chapter in the next post…